Implications of ZigBee 3.0: Towards a More Universal Home Automation Standard … Kinda Like Z-Wave


One big gripe about ZigBee, the home automation and energy management technology, is that it isn’t really a standard. Not all ZigBee “Pro” interoperable devices communicate with others.

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Now I get that everyone is sick of new so-called standards, but I see Zigbee 3.0 as being quite a bit different. I have never been a fan of the separate profiles that zigbee uses but they have been around as long as Z-Wave and with this new “3.0 standard” (I am not sure the term “standard” is even the correct name for it) almost all of them with the exception of Crestron/Control4 devices and Zigbee Energy metering devices used by the power companies will now be compatible. There may even be a potential for integrating 6LowPan devices, although thats a guess on my part. I am also wondering if 3.0 will include Centralite and their Cable Co HA products (Azela) into the mix as being compatible with ZHA1.2 as well. That would even integrate TWC/Comcast, here in the US, and Rogers, in Canada, HA systems as being more DIY ready as well as making their Jetstream products compatible with Azela, and further compatible with Philips HUE or others – again just a guess.

I see this as groundbreaking news for HA because, one, its not really a new standard but more about the integration of existing zigbee profiles, and two, it seems like there may be a potential here, once Thread has been finalized and is more mature, for popular products like Nest, Philips Hue, WeMo, and many more to be all capable of speaking to each other. Thats possible to some degree now with bridges but I am getting the impression that these devices may even be able to communicate P2P without a bridge or a hub, similar to Insteon devices. Just surmising on that one.

Also, this new ratification is not supposed to have any affect on existing devices, so developers can keep making Zigbee HA 1.2 devices, NEST can keep making 6Lowpan devices and they may ALL be compatible with 3.0 via OTA firmware updates, but all the older profiles will be forward compatible with the new 3.0. If you ask me, Zigbee just became a major threat to Z-Wave. Not picking sides here, I love Z-Wave and Insteon, but I never believed Zigbee was going to be a true threat to the DIY HA industry until now. Just my opinion.

Thank you for letting us, “automate YOUR world”!

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

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